Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Girl Who Loved a Warmer Story

Image courtesy of Ann's Needlework
As Hollywood's film version of Girl With the Dragon Tattoo tops the local marquees over the holidays, I have to wonder why the Americans felt the need to remake a three-year-old movie that the Swedes had already done a perfectly fine job with. It's a mystery, but then so is the popularity of the Millennium Trilogy at all, in my opinion.

I wrote this post a few months ago, when the final novel of the Stieg Larsson's trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, was failing to capture my imagination and provide a reliable escape from reality.

Having read the first two (with diminishing interest), I felt obligated to finish the project, but I don't think I'm going to be able to do it.

I read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo a couple of years back, during my great obsession with all things Swedish. Although it was disappointing, it was not a complete bust because it helped me to crystallize my understanding of my own Swedish obsession, which I must conclude contain no interest whatsoever in the slick, grim (and rather cold) modern Sweden.

Instead, my obsession is very finely pointed into the past. I could live and breathe retro-Sweden, the Sweden of my grandparents: homey little housewares, lullabies, embroidery, earthbound cuisine, the lyrical spoken language, and the history from Vikings to the Swedish diaspora to America.
I only read the second book (Girl Who Played with Fire) out of camaraderie with my co-worker. After reading it, we watched the movie and ate Swedish food. 

Now, we plan to do the same thing for this third one, but even my craving for meatballs and lingonberries cannot make me read this excruciatingly boring book.
I'm just going to skip right to the movie.


Kym said...

God, I thought I was the only person who couldn't stomach that boring series. I made it through the first one wondering what all the fuss was about started the second and gave up. And looking back, I can't even figure out why I read that far.

Indie said...

I think the appeal probably lies in a female antihero who gets graphic revenge on her rapist. The story is twisted in the English versions anyway and makes more sense if you know the real names of the books:
1. Men Who Hate Women,
2. The Girl Who Played with Fire, and
3. Exploding Castles in the Air.

silfwer said...

Have you read the classic Wilhelm Moberg books (4) or seen the movies (2)?
*The Emigrants (
It tells the story of a Swedish group who emigrate from Småland, Sweden to Minnesota, United States in the 19th century. The film follows the hardship of the group in Sweden and on the trip.

*The New Land (
Starting a new life in the New World from almost nothing is not easy. The winters and summers are more extreme than in the Old. The immigrants are rewarded for their hard work and now live a better life than they did in Sweden. Bad times also come, however.

Its two real classics and every swede watches it in school to learn about this part of our history.

And of course you can find anything online these days, dubbed into english:

Indie said...

Yes, I have read them, and seen the film. Great stories. I sent a copy of the first book to my dad, who is my partner in exploring our Swedish heritage.

When I was in Sweden, it was so interesting to learn that every Swedish child reads that in school and knows about the Sweden-America connection, yet we don't learn anything at all about it here in the U.S.

I would love suggestions for Swedish films to watch. My favorite of all time is Under Solen and Kitchen Stories (Norwegian?). I would love more suggestions ... :-)

silfwer said...

I havent seen "Under solen" but I think i have an idea about what you like ;)

Så som i himmelen(As it is in heaven)
(loved by the critics)

(loved by the people, huge success, think there is two follow ups)
Same director (Colin Nutley) as Under Solen and also with (his irl wife)Helena Bergström in the leading role.

It recently was a popular tv-show here in sweden about 10 americans searching their heritage in sweden. The show was mostly in english.
Search "allt för sverige e1" on youtube.

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